After the second warmest January to March since national temperature began being recorded in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is projecting a 75% chance that 2020 will be recorded as the hottest year ever, beating 2016. Yet President Donald Trump is still determined to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remove the powerful greenhouse gas methane from the 2015 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for oil and gas facilities. The Trump Administration recently directed the Office of Management and Budget to approve the EPA’s complete removal of methane from the 2015 NSPS by late July. In order to avoid the accelerating effects of climate change the EPA must maintain existing emissions limitations while expanding research to accurately account for and reduce methane pollution.
Carbon Dioxide emissions have fallen 12% in the U.S from 2005 to 2019, but recent studies of methane emissions have determined that oil and gas facilities are emitting methane at rates vastly underestimated by the EPA and state governments. Methane is 87 times more potent a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year time period and researchers at Cornell University recently published a study concluding that from 2014-2018 Pennsylvania officials underestimated methane leakage by 15%. Please tell your federal elected officials you are concerned that allowing methane pollution to increase will lead to the further acceleration of climate chaos.
The President wants to roll back limitations on the powerful greenhouse gas methane during a worldwide pandemic. The current COVID-19 pandemic puts further emphasis on the need to address extreme heat. Penn State researchers recently concluded that compared to the year 2000, average temperature will rise by 4.9 degrees Fahrenheit between 2040 and 2070. During extreme heat events in urban areas like Philadelphia, many residents depend on public spaces like libraries and community centers for air conditioning. Current social distancing requirements may not allow for this, creating great concern about how residents will cope with the extreme heat caused by climate change during the current pandemic. We need the federal government to understand that climate change is a serious public health threat.